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Cancer Nurs. 1994 Dec;17(6):512-5.

How well is your patient prepared for an MRI? An insider's perspective.

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School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.


Often patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for diagnostic purposes are not adequately prepared to deal with the claustrophobia commonly experienced while in the MRI machine. They may have been instructed on the procedure and some of the physical sensations they might encounter, but teaching about coping strategies to utilize when confronted with the occurrence of unanticipated claustrophobia when a sedating medication is not immediately available may often be lacking. Drawing on excerpts from a patient's journal that vividly describes her struggle to cope with claustrophobia during an MRI, this article discusses this commonly encountered experience within the context of theoretical perspectives of stress to underscore the importance of assessing for indications of rising anxiety. Suggestions for coping strategies to include in patient teaching are presented.

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